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Child deaths put in the spotlight

By Zinhle Mapumulo | Sep 09, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

MondAy marked the beginning of the National Child Health Week campaign.

MondAy marked the beginning of the National Child Health Week campaign.

The campaign is aimed at reducing the number of deaths in the country among children under five years.

To launch the campaign, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi visited the Mopani district in Limpopo - one of the areas that has been identified by his department as a priority because of its poor health outcomes.

Speaking at the event, Motsoaledi said: "A lot of these deaths can be prevented. My call to all South Africans, in particular, healthcare workers and mothers, is to stop these deaths."

In March last year, a report was released showing that about 75000 children under the age of five years die of childhood illnesses in South Africa a year. Researchers said more than half of these deaths could be prevented if the country had an adequate health system.

Motsoaledi admitted that children under five are still dying from preventable diseases.

"Under-nutrition, especially vitamin and mineral deficiencies, is a major health problem, particularly in rural areas.

"The government is aware of some of the challenges facing mothers in accessing health services, such as long queues and shortage of medication.

"This has been put high on our priority list to ensure that our communities can use health facilities without any frustration," he said.


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